Photo a Day: Days 85-91

Week 13!

Day 85: Keeping warm while wearing mostly dresses requires lots of layers- like fleece lined leggings, fuzzy socks, and another pair of socks.
Day 86: One of my favorite Moldovan foods- pelemeni. These ones are stuffed with ground pork and chicken.
Day 87: I observed a Russian lesson with 8th grade students. Although I didn’t understand a word, it was interesting!
Day 88: Making posters for a U.S. state project during English Club. These 9th graders (and one 8th grader) chose California.
Day 89: If you look closely enough you can see little specks of snow- our first obvious snowfall this winter!
Day 90: 8th grade students work on their state poster during English Club- this group chose New York in hopes of winning the competition.
Day 91: The sun shines over a muddy road on a crisp but sunny day (a rarity this time of year in Moldova).

Constelatia Talentelor (Constellation of Talents)

Last Friday I was at school and heading to a class when Doamna Angela, a 3rd grade teacher, approached me and asked if I was busy that afternoon and evening.  Doamna Angela and her husband, Alexandru, run the traditional music and dance school in our village.  I told her I didn’t have plans and she asked me if I had my camera with me (I did).  “Perfect!” she said, “Will you come with the dance ensemble to a competition in Chisinau and film it?”  I absolutely love the rare opportunities to watch the dance ensemble, made up of about 20 8th through 9th grade students I teach at school, so I immediately said yes.

I’ll be honest- I really didn’t know any details when I said yes except that we would be leaving right after my class and that it was in Chisinau.  On the bus on the way to Chisinau, Angela and Alexandru said that we were going to a festival and competition called Constellation of Talents and that it was an international talent competition.  My students didn’t end up performing until almost 10 in the evening (the video above), but I got to hang out with the group until then and watch the rest of the concert and competition.  There were at least 13 countries represented, mostly from Eastern Europe but also from Vietnam and a group from an African country.

There were various categories including modern dance, traditional dance, singing, verbal art (poetry), and modelling.  Our group was competing in the traditional dance category.  Groups that the judges felt did a good job on the first and second days of the competition were called back to compete in the final round on Sunday.  My students did a fantastic job on Friday, and though I didn’t accompany them, were called back on Sunday, and won grand prize!!  They also received invitations to two other international competitions, one in Romania, and one in Bulgaria.  My students were so excited to tell me that they had won when I saw them in class on Monday!  They work incredibly hard and are so incredibly talented!  I am so proud of them!

Youth Day

The celebration started off with some poetry.

Last week, our school celebrated Youth Day.  The Student Council made a video and put together an hour-long performance for the 8th and 9th grade students.  I was really impressed by how quickly they put everything together and learned the dances and songs!

This song was titled “Ana” and in it, a girl is in love and wants to go out dancing. Her mother/grandmother doesn’t want her to go, but in the end joins in and dances with them. It was absolutely hilarious!
The main performance- here some boys dressed up as mothers argue with their “kids” and tell them they must go to school.
The main performance- the gym teacher has left the students alone, so they dance.
The main performance- the boy in front is in love and is writing a love note.
The main performance- the gym teacher returns and they dance in a train.

There was a mix of some songs, dances, and one big musical skit.  Most of the performances were humorous and they did a great job!  After, there was a short dance for the 8th and 9th graders.

Ziua Profesorului (Teacher’s Day) 2017

An 8th grade student presents her class’s wishes for the teachers.
A 6th grade students shares wishes for the teachers.
Some 8th graders present a poem for the teachers.

October 5 is International Teacher’s Day, and here in Moldova it’s a very big holiday (read about last year’s celebration here).  At our school, we started the day off with a short assembly outside in the school’s courtyard.  One student from each class presented their wishes for the teachers and thanked them for the work they do.

Some teachers at the school.
Some teachers at the school (I’m in the front in the center).

On Thursdays, my partner Liuba and I teach our younger students in 2nd through 3rd grade.  One of the Moldovan traditions for Teacher’s Day is for older students to teach some of the lessons throughout the day instead of the teachers.

A 9th grade student teachers one of our 3rd grade classes.
An 8th grade student teaches the other 3rd grade class.

For our two 3rd grade classes, two girls, one in 8th grade and one in 9th grade, taught our lessons.  We sat in the back and helped a little as needed.  The 3rd graders were very excited to have older students teach the class and the two “teachers” did a good job.

8th grade students perform in a concert for the teachers.
Students perform a humorous skit.

During our classes, some of the students gave us flowers and other prepared small speeches to thank us.  According to one of my 4th grade boys, I am very pretty and they like to have lessons with me very much because I never yell at them.

8th grade girls sing for the teacgers.
All of the teachers, with the 8th grade students.

After lessons, some of the teachers went to our raion center for a big concert and ceremony, but I didn’t join them.  On Friday, the 8th graders prepared a concert for us, with poems, songs, and even a skit.  Then, that evening, all of the teachers went to a larger nearby town to have a really nice party at a restaurant.  We ate, drank, and danced for several hours.  It was a really nice celebration and everyone seemed to have a very nice time.

International Day of Peace

Last Thursday, September 21st, was International Day of Peace, a holiday celebrated around the world.  The holiday was established by the UN in 1981 and is devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples”(1).  The 2017 theme was “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety, and Dignity for All”(2).

*The following photos are what the students at our school wrote in response to “What does peace mean?”

“Without violence, love between people, respect, kindness, and reverence”
“Understanding between people, liberty”
“Respect between people, friendship, power”

Many Peace Corps volunteers around the globe do various activities to celebrate the holiday in their communities and workplaces.  My site mate, Amir, and I organized some simple activities to commemorate the day in our school.

“United family”, “Quiet and friendship in the country”
“Against enemies success in nonviolent unity”
“Peace-symbol: unity, nonviolence, and collaboration between people”
“Understanding between people, liberty, without violence”

After a short assembly with students in 5th through 9th grade, where some 9th grade students read some information about the holiday and this year’s theme, we gathered all of the students and some of the teachers in the courtyard in front of our school.  The students formed the shape of a peace sign, which most of the students but few of the teachers were familiar with.

“Unity, love, friendship, reverence”
“Peace means friendship and love!”
“Peace is kindness, friendship, reverence, love”
“Peace is friendship, love, kindness, and everything that is on earth”

After, during the breaks throughout the day, students wrote what peace means to them on whiteboards and posed for pictures.

“Peace is friendship, understanding, love, reverence. Love and friendship”
“Peace is unity and understanding between people”
“Love and trust”

It was the first time our school had done something to note the holiday, and the students and teachers alike were interested to learn more (at first, many of the teachers thought it was International Peace Corps Day!).

Sources: (1): International Day of Peace; (2): United Nations: Together